First published on 19 Mar 2013. Updated on 25 Feb 2014.
Time Out got in touch with Melbourne’s roots, and noted five key sites that recognise and celebrate our city’s Indigenous history.
In 1883 the CBD was dynamited and excavated, so very few ancient landforms and plants exist, However on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk you can see a River Red Gum that pre-dates European Settlement. The walk takes you through to the sites where native plants are concentrated, including the edible grass Lomandra in case you’re feeling peckish along the way. The remains of an ancient waterfall can also be seen. For centuries this particular waterfall was the only way of crossing the river for miles. The walk begins with a relaxed Welcoming Ceremony which involves the burning of native plants, and ends with a calming cup of lemon myrtle tea. A must-do activity for every Melburnian. Meet at the Visitor Centre, Observatory Gate, Royal Botanic Garden, South Yarra. 11am-12.30pm. Tue-Fri and first Sun of every month. Bookings essential. $10-$25.
This museum celebrates Indigenous art and culture of the southeastern region of Australia with three gallery spaces. Works in the Koorie Heritage Trust’s collection are a combination of acquired and commissioned works, gathered since the early 1980s. The Trust also assists people or family members of the Stolen Generations with its Family History Service – an initiative that you can support. Melbourne.
Bunjilaka comes from the term ‘Bunjil’ of the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung language. The Bunjil is an Aboriginal deity who, according to one legend, created the mountains, rivers, flora, fauna and people. Bunjilaka educates non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians on Australia's pre-colonial history featuring performance spaces, a Keeping Place where the local Aboriginal community can meet, and gallery spaces. Currently on show is Last Man Standing, a vibrant exhibition including works by Mildura artist Trevor Turbo Brown. Carlton.
Running alongside the north side of the Yarra is Birrarung Marr, a name that means ‘river of mists’ and ‘river bank’ in the Woiwurrung language. The park features a long, winding footpath, representing the eel as a traditional food source for people living by the river. Attractions include Deborah Halpern’s 'Angel' sculpture and the inverted temple-style Federation Bells which ring three times a day. ArtPlay is another drawcard at Birrarung Marr. Here children and their families are encouraged to let their creativity run wild. Melbourne.
Labels stating “100% Australian made” is a rare sight. But at the Koorie Connections Altair, there’s not a single imported item to be found. Local Aboriginal folk are selling contemporary artwork, pottery, books, clothing and didgeridoos. Even if you’re not up for shopping, this store is fascinating and great for a squiz during your market visit. Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne.